20th March 2014

First ever neurological dataset for England launched

Years of concerted campaigning by the neurological community have been rewarded today with the publication of the first ever neurological dataset for England.

For over a decade, there has been recognition all the way up to most senior levels of the NHS that neurological services will only be able to improve if the health service can measure what is currently happening on the ground. Despite this knowledge and the growing impact that neurological conditions are having on our health and social care services, up until now very little information has been nationally collated and published on how services for people with neurological conditions are performing.

The publication of the neurological dataset, which is available on the Health and Social Care Information Centre website is a huge first step in addressing this lack of information. For the first time we will be able to shine a light on what is happening for people with neurological services in England and start to pinpoint where problems may exist and how these can be addressed.

It’s important to note that the dataset published today is just the first step on a long journey to improving what we know about the quality and effectiveness of neurological services. A big part of the journey ahead will involve looking at how the neurological community can use the dataset in practice and working out how this resource needs to evolve over time.

Beyond the dataset itself, other advances are needed to improve the collation and quality of neurological intelligence across the board. We will be publishing its vision for what the journey ahead should look like in the next few weeks.

Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, said:

“The publication of the first ever national neurological dataset is a watershed moment for the neurological community. Until now, national neurological data have simply not been collected in the same way as for other life-changing conditions. It is inconceivable that the millions of people living with neurological conditions have effectively been an unknown quantity to the Government and NHS for so long.

“This initial version of the dataset is very much a first step, but first steps are the hardest to take and therefore the most important to have taken. Today marks the start of an important journey towards ensuring that the health and social care system has all the data, intelligence and evidence it needs to improve standards of care and support for people with neurological conditions.”

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